To you the sound of a young woman’s heart can be silent, nothing but a thump, thump, thump. To that young woman, that sound is a rhythm, a rhythm with a purpose, a voice. It motivates us to pursue our dreams, to take on new challenges, to step up when others back away, to dance when others stay still, to speak while others are silent, to love without fear. For some of us that rhythm is never heard aloud, we never learn how to harness the power of our own rhythm, a secret strength. For Carter Simpson and the volunteers at the “Rock and Roll Camp for Girls in OKC” that was simply not enough. To encourage young women to follow their dreams and to be proud of who they are, they decided to teach young women how to live life to their own rhythm through music by opening a rock and roll camp.
Carter Sampson explains how it all began, “I grew up in OKC and had the opportunity to volunteer at the “Portland Rock Camp for Girls” in 2006 and really wished there would have been a program like this when I was growing up and learning how to play guitar. A couple of women I met in Portland started a camp in L.A. and after volunteering there for two weeks in 2013, I decided that OKC was ready for its own camp. I then teamed up with some awesome ladies that helped make an OKC camp a reality in 2015.” This summer will be the second season for the camp and is completely full. Carter said, “Our first camp in 2015 had 37 campers, this July we will have 51! The hardest part for us is having to turn anyone away for lack of space.”
The purpose of the camp is not only teach the young women to play instruments, it is so much more. At the camp the girls form bands, write songs and perform at a “Camper Showcase” at the end of the camp. Everyday at camp there are two workshops that range in topics from positive self image, self defense, DIY t-shirt printing, music business, songwriting, and learning about women in music. The camp does all of this with the ultimate goal of empowering young women and showing them that they are capable of accomplishing their goals and dreams.
In addition, they also encourage the young women to make an impact in their community in various ways, “We strive to keep conversations going about all kinds of topics that impact the campers and their communities. The girls create zines (DIY Magazines) and are constantly writing in their journals throughout the week. We encourage girls to “be loud” and use their voices, we talk about what privilege means and how we can be allies to other people.”
Carter went on to speak about her hope for the girls long after camp, “My hope is that the girls leave camp where they see women and girls being good to each other and building each other up instead of tearing each other down. They take those things back to their schools and show other girls that it is much more powerful to be kind to each other.”
When we empower one another, we start to see change. We see less depression and more strength, we see less tears and more smiles. We see less disappointment and more hope for the future. This organization is driving that hope and is impacting hundreds of young women here in Oklahoma, and ultimately the world.
The “Rock and Roll Camp for Girls in OKC” is currently in the process of getting their 501©(3) non profit status and will be accepting donations. This year they are able to purchase all the gear needed for camp and plan to help other camps get started in Tulsa and Kansas.
If you would like to contact the organization, please go to their website www.rcgokc.org. There you can apply to volunteer, donate, and much more.